Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Today my Satchel turns 10!

We had a leisurely day - Satchel first waking to participate in the traditional hunt for his birthday presents, complete with obscure clues to track them down. This is Jakob's final day of recovery before returning to daycare (thank God) from his tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy so we left the house for the first time since the surgery to go to the park. I was desperate to get out, I was very quickly being driven insane from being trapped in the house this past week. We spent over 2 hours hanging out, climbing, covering each other with sand - just basking in the sunshine which did us all a world of good. Then I made Satchel his dinner preference (shepherd's pie) and a big gooey chocolate birthday cake for dessert. Pat, Jake, Griffin, Sam & Ridley showed up and joined us for the cake which was really nice, especially for Satch, it felt more like a party.

Paul spoke with John today; the electrical & plumbing is finished and the Styrofoam is up at the back of the house allowing the first coat of stucco to be started possibly tomorrow. We received the sample swatch today, it looks a lot like concrete with a grainy finish - I hope it works, I feel like I question everything now. We asked John to try to get us back in the house for end of October. Our thinking is we might have a better chance subletting this place for beginning of November rather than December which would really help financially. He's going to put a timeline together and see if everything can be pulled together.

We also heard from Shirley saying that the kitchen cabinets are finished and all they need is an installation date. I had a dream about the kitchen installation this past weekend - it looked awful and was stained yellow. This reno is definitely getting to me.

HAPPY 10th BIRTHDAY SATCHEL! The day is done.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Jake smells. I want him to have a bath. Does he want a bath? No. And he's very vocal about it. Even without tonsils.

Paul stopped by the house last night after working out, more progress by electrician and we chose the stucco surface and colour - we should have a sample board today.

One thing we need to get our act together on is getting a kitchen sink and faucet. Supposedly the faucet we've been trying to get from Home Depot has been discontinued because it's been breaking. My sister is getting her supplier to quote on a laminate surface to see if it's a good deal and I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that Kim's brother will be able to do our stainless steel island.

All I really want to do is go on endlessly about Jakob as I sit here in my pajamas (it's after 1pm) smelling of chemicals (cleaning the filth that is my rental house). He had a good night but this morning was rough. His throat hurts more after sleeping and he was very resistant to eating popsicles, drinking water, taking tylenol - preferring instead to yell and cry. Seeing that he's very strong willed, it took about an hour to finally get him to cautiously put a popsicle in his mouth. But I do see an improvement already in his sleep - he's much quieter. If only that quietness would trickle over in to the day time.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

It's been a long and emotional week.

Last Thursday I went on an office retreat to Kingston, Ontario, the first in 10 years. At some time during our last night together, one of my colleagues died in her room. It still seems surreal to me and I keep expecting to see her around the coffee machine so that we can continue updating each other on our ongoing renovations. Also surreal since she seemed fine during the retreat - dancing and socializing the last night on a lake cruise, though complaining of an upset stomach and headache. I can only hope that she is in a better place and that her children will grow up keeping their wonderful memories of their Mom. Glenna's funeral will be held tomorrow.

The other emotionally exhausting event was Jakob's tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy (I have no idea if that's an actual word) yesterday. The surgery went well but I didn't expect the near-violent reaction to the anesthesia and morphine cocktail. When I entered the room he was awake and being held on to by three nurses while he yelled and thrashed and tried to pull out his IV. I rushed over and held on to him, murmuring sweet nothings against his face but nothing would calm him. Thankfully more drugs inserted in to the IV had him finally knock off to sleep after about two hours of yelling. I held him tight and then lay down in the hospital bed with him. When I finally felt confident enough to get out of the bed, I had such a migraine. Thank God I still had my baggy of pills left over from the retreat so I popped a couple of extra strength advil to take the edge off and then downed cup after cup of coffee.

Today I went to work while Paul stayed home with Jake and I was exhausted, cranky and barely able to speak to anyone. And then I donated blood. Now, I'm drinking wine. Yes, yes I know, STUPID. But as the Globe & Mail so thoughtfully pointed out on Saturday: mother's of young children drink more. Of course we do, didn't have to pay for a survey to come up with that conclusion.

So on to the house. Much has happened and I love that when ever I enter I see progress. Of course as always changes are being made and the end result of the house is moving further and further away from what I envisioned. And unfortunately some last minute changes are not what I would have chosen, but not being at the house during the moments of decision (instead being home with the kids and DRINKING) I lose the vote to Paul and John.

One exciting bit of news is that the bathtub has FINALLY been installed - after what, 3-4 weeks after it was delivered. Plumping, wiring is currently being worked on. The outside colours have been chosen so the siding and stucco will begin soon. I feel like I can (almost) confidently say that we are now slightly beyond the half way point. John just stopped by with stucco samples for us to choose from, must decide TONIGHT so that he can provide a sample tomorrow. I can do that, probably one of the easier decisions to make. Now I wish we'd asked to have concrete quoted like on my office building. It looks amazing and is the look I'm desperately trying to emulate with the stucco. If I could only do this over again, knowing what I know now.

Truth be told, all I really want to do is recreate my office environment within the context of my house. I love my office building and interior, couldn't care less about the work, but the office and the espresso machine gets me in happily every morning.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The boys are home - back from 5 days visiting Paul's parents in Grand Falls.

And I have been alone in the house for that same time (which explains why nothing has been written on this blog). Time spent at work, socializing with friends and family, and living in a clean well-ordered house where I have eaten nothing but pop corn and nachos. Thank god for red wine because otherwise I'm sure I'd have scurvy.

I took a trip over to the house to see what has been done. I think I can confidently say that we are now half way through this crazy process.

Last Tuesday, a meeting had been scheduled with John, Jon (kitchen cabinets) and myself. Unfortunately Jon didn't make it in time so I had to return to work and he was left dealing with Ron the sub-contractor. But final measurements have been made and the kitchen can now be built. Unfortunately changes keep taking place - now massive changes to accomodate HVAC which impacts the design of the kitchen and the ceiling height in the powder room. The bathroom had Paul cursing because he felt it was more laziness and that we should have been told.

Beware Paul's wrath I tell you.

What will be interesting to me is how different the final result will be from the original concept. Everything has changed and what the cost became for our project was a rude awakening. It turns out we had very expensive taste and have been humbled considerably. I worry most that after this entire process, the place won't be as nice as it could have been. I liken it to planning a wedding; you have a vision, work out all the details, make commitments to people, almost in the abstraction and definitely a leap of faith that they will come through for you - yet the day arrives, it all comes together and is perfect. Well, except for our photographer, he was terrible.

But I tend to get caught up far too much in the details. What is helpful to me is parading friends and family through the reno so that they can drink in the entire picture and not worry about how the HVAC is wrecking the perfect symmetry and screwing up my plans for a light fixture in the bathroom. Or how I don't like the positioning of the closets in the boys' rooms. The french doors looking out in to the backyard are beautiful, and the kitchen will be fantastic. The boys will have their own rooms, the main bathroom will be great and for the first time in many, many years I'll be able to have a relaxing bath because THERE WILL BE A LOCK ON THE BATHROOM DOOR.

My brother Thomas drove in from Edmonton for a few days - here's a picture of the him during the free tour.

And also a picture of the new windows installed in Satchel's room.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Another frustrating day of fruitless running around.

There is a faucet we want to buy from Home Depot on page 55 of their Dream Book for Spring/Summer 2006. But can anyone get us this faucet. No. Not the people at the two Home Depots we have tried, not the useless people on the other end of the 1-800 number marked in the catalogue, not their web site. No one. Well, not true, one person can for 15% more than advertised price in the catalogue. Bastard. But we'll be returning to him tomorrow to order it and I'm hoping I get hit with a huge wave of PMS so that I can frighten him into giving it to us for the advertised priced and forcing him into short-term disability.

Why is this such an exercise in frustration? Is it a conspiracy? Does the world really want me to become an alcoholic (3 glass of wine so far tonight)? Is there some sadistic male god out there pulling the strings of my life while laughing hysterically?

Probably though, it would be just my luck.

I wrote out two cheques today to John. One massive one, one the size of the stove I want. He said he couldn't continue with the HVAC changes without it.

So more changes to my original plan have been made. Today my pocket door is being sacrificed (which John never wanted to install in the first place, I remember these initial meetings) and instead a barn door set up will be installed. Fortunately for John and Paul I did see it used in an old House & Home magazine and it looked fantastic, so will find that issue. Now, I know that the barn door set up is cheaper than the pocket door and also requires a thinner wall, but I'm sure that the fact it's changing will counter any cost savings it might have presented and Paul has said there's no way they're going to reframe for a thinner wall. I'm also told that I'm losing further inches in the library.

Fortunately windows have been installed. Paul had to go over and meet up with John again so I handed him the digital camera with instructions to take pictures. Here's the ONE picture he took. It does look nice.

Before our useless trip to Home Depot, we took the kids to movies. I took Satchel to see Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and Paul took Jakob to Haunted House. Jakob lasted 10 minutes before Paul came searching us out in our theatre to get my debit card for a refund. They spent the rest of the time eating ice cream and then sitting in the car for AN HOUR. Crazy. I'd have been shopping, dragging Jakob along explaining the merits of buying pretty new clothes.

We also went to Costco for a snack (I'd skipped lunch). That's how low we've fallen, we're eating at Costco. But really, for $10 we had two hotdogs, unlimited drinks, pizza and the best french fries in the entire world. And then I bought a down-filled winter coat for $69 designed by Perry Ellis! God I love Costco.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

No comment necessary - just a delightful sense of retribution.
John called at 9:00 this morning pushing Paul to get up, get dressed and get out.

I hate this. I really hate this. Things just keep coming up and then John expects decisions to be made immediately even though the changes impact hugely on the design of the kitchen/bathroom and I have to figure out a way to accommodate them and still try to make the place look okay.

Which I'm beginning to think is impossible. And it's really bothering me that I don't think the place is going to look as good as it should, especially after all of this time and money being spent.

Now it's bulk heads and duct work that we weren't counting on replacing (hence the extra $3,600+ that John wants NOW and also the next big installment) but needs to be replaced and I just think it's a big conspiracy to drain us even more money to make up for the loss he's taking on how much the kitchen cabinets cost. I'm definitely getting myself a contractor voodoo doll and if I can't find one, I'm making them and selling them and funding my renovation with them.

The windows are finally being installed today - a week late. Turns out John doesn't need the bathroom stuff quite as quickly as he demanded, nor the bathroom vanity, and probably not even the kitchen stuff because everything is just falling behind. And maybe it wouldn't be if they were actually working on the house.

Yes, I'm bitter and maybe I'm PMSing, I don't know. But I'm working on the voodoo doll TODAY.